The Asia Cup got off to a sensational start as Afghanistan defeated Sri Lanka in the curtain raiser match on Saturday. In what came as a statement win by the war-torn nation, the first match was every bit surprising as entertaining.
After winning the toss, the Afghanistan team decided to bowl first, something that proved to be a great decision for the newly inducted team. The Sri Lanka team, having asked to bat first, faltered at the word get-go. Their first two batters were removed in two overs leaving the team struggling at 5/3 in 1.6 overs.
It was then that Danushka Gunathilaka (17) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (38) came up with important innings and held the fort for a while. These two, however, were no match for Afghanistan bowlers as they were dismissed quite cheaply leaving their team in limbo.
Chamika Karunaratne, with a 31 off of 38, played a pivotal role at the end on the back of which the Sri Lanka team entered into triple digits territory. Sri Lanka’s poor top order performance, however, meant that the team could only reach 105/10 and got all out in just 19.4 overs.
Fazahalhaq Farooqi, with a bowling figure of 3.4-11-3, was Afghanistan’s best bowler. Mujeeb Ur Rahman and captain Mohammad Nabi also came up with two wickets to choke a sorry Sri Lanka side to a paltry total. The fact that Rashid Khan remained wicketless and Afghanistan still dominated with the ball speaks volumes of the bowling quality that the team possesses.
Coming onto chase, the Afghanistan team made a mockery of it and won the match in just 10 overs. Openers Hazratullah Zazai saw off the Sri Lanka bowling charge to take his team home with a 37 off 28 deliveries. The other opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz was sensational with the bat hitting 40 runs in just 18 balls with the help of three boundaries and four massive sixes. Although Ibrahim Zadran’s run-out brought a bit of respite to the Sri Lankan team, the game was already over.
Twitter was understandably amazed at Afghanistan’s performance against a strong Sri Lanka side. They did not just defeat the Indian neighbour from the south but humiliated them on the world stage and that would be a statement to all the other teams in the Asia Cup.
Let’s look at how Twitter reacted to Afghanistan’s win in the first match of Asia Cup 2022:
A win with a statement from Afghanistan ? #AsiaCup2022
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) August 27, 2022
This rapid run chase had nothing to do with dew. It’s bone dry … Afghanistan we’re just too good.. Felt like SL barely turned up #AFGvsSL
— Jatin Sapru (@jatinsapru) August 27, 2022
VICTORY! Afghanistan grab the first win of the tournament in classy fashion. Well done to the boys for a stellar performance! ?
— AsianCricketCouncil (@ACCMedia1) August 27, 2022
Afghanistan? time to be more than a feel-good story. I won't be surprised if they make the semis. And final as well? #AsiaCup2022
— Ayan (@ayan_acharya13) August 27, 2022
— prasaddhfm (@prasadprince35) August 27, 2022
Phenomenal win for Afghanistan. Great start to the tournament.
— Mohammed Azharuddin (@azharflicks) August 27, 2022
Afghanistan demolished Sri Lanka! They have been the rising team in World cricket from a while. In #AsiaCup2022 they can definitely stamp their authority, they have all the resources,only they need to learn how to control nerves & to tackle the psychological pressure of big teams pic.twitter.com/2d0t0Gvah2
— Ahmad Haseeb (@iamAhmadhaseeb) August 27, 2022
Let's appreciate umar Gul on Afghanistan performance..
— ?Imran Siddique (@imransiddique89) August 27, 2022
— Bilal. (@mianbelaal) August 27, 2022
— Muhammad Huzaifa Saeedi (@tweets_by_huzi) August 27, 2022
Massive win for Afghanistan in Asia Cup. Sri Lanka comprehensively outplayed. There’s a missive in this for India and Pakistan too. This tournament is not just about them. Other teams can’t be taken lightly
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) August 27, 2022
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) August 27, 2022